Crows recognize, and remember, human faces

Yoder says: "University of Washington scientists have shown that crows recognize individual human faces, and hold grudges against people who have been mean to them in the past."

200808261408.jpg To test the birds' recognition of faces separately from that of clothing, gait and other individual human characteristics, Dr. Marzluff and two students wore rubber masks. He designated a caveman mask as "dangerous" and, in a deliberate gesture of civic generosity, a Dick Cheney mask as "neutral." Researchers in the dangerous mask then trapped and banded seven crows on the university's campus in Seattle.

In the months that followed, the researchers and volunteers donned the masks on campus, this time walking prescribed routes and not bothering crows.

The crows had not forgotten. They scolded people in the dangerous mask significantly more than they did before they were trapped, even when the mask was disguised with a hat or worn upside down. The neutral mask provoked little reaction.

Friend or Foe? Crows Never Forget a Face, It Seems (New York Times)